NEW YORK (Sep. 24)
Pinhas Sapir, Israel’s Finance Minister, told 200 Israel Bond leaders at a luncheon here Thursday that next year’s defense budget might be increased to $1.75 billion or $300 million more than the current year. More than $3.6 million in Israel Bonds was sold at the luncheon in tribute to the Finance Minister. Sam Rothberg, general chairman of the Israel Bond Organization, was luncheon chairman and Shimon Alexandroni, Israel’s Minister of Economic Affairs to the US and Canada was the host.
Sapir cited increased costs of US military equipment, which is becoming more and more sophisticated, and pointed out that this year’s defense budget of $1.45 billion, representing 23 percent of the country’s GNP, would have to be increased by some $300 million for next year. Sapir said that, “the most important event during the past Jewish year has been the immigration of Russian Jews.” He said that 30,000 Russian-Jewish immigrants are expected in 1972.
“The cost of absorbing these people into Israel’s economy and making housing and jobs available to them will be $350 million,” Sapir said. “And this does not take into account the fact that we expect a total of 60,000 immigrants in 1972.” Looking back on the twenty-five years of Israel’s existence as an independent State, the Finance Minister declared that “we must now project for the next twenty-five years, during which we must continue to be partners in this historic work.”